You're booking a cruise for the family and the question of if you want travel protection arises. Maybe you haven't even considered travel insurance, you were more focused on the cruise itself. You want to protect your family, and your money, so it makes sense to just tack on the Cruise Line's insurance plan. But is that the best idea?
Cruise Line insurance is the most convenient option at check out, but its coverage is limited. Their benefits fall short in many areas, and the cruise line plans simply can't stack up against third-party travel insurance.
Let's be honest, does it really matter what insurance you buy? Yes. It does –especially when you could have covered that cancellation or hurricane warning.
Here are 5 simple ways to get the right travel insurance for your next family cruise.
1. MORE ATTENTION TO DETAIL
"I always recommend 3rd Party Insurance to my clients whether cruising or not... provider insurance usually doesn’t cover clients in case of a bankruptcy of that company."
-Gina Padilla of Mouse and More Travel
Third-party insurance providers literally have one job: to provide travel insurance. That means that they are able to put a lot of thought into developing their policies. Things like cancel for work reasons or bankruptcy aren't overlooked, but actually honed in on.
Let the cruise company focus on their specialty: providing an awesome cruise experience for you and your family. Leave the travel insurance to the travel insurance experts.
2. HURRICANE COVERAGE
The best time to take a cruise just so happens to also be the worst time to take a cruise. In the summer kids are out of school, we're all in better moods, and the wanderlust is real. Summertime is also home to hurricane season.
We all know that hurricanes can ruin any perfectly planned trip. The season runs from June until November, so if you book your trip any time during this six month period, you run the risk of trip cancellation or interruption due to hurricane. Most cruise line insurance plans don't have coverage for hurricanes. This means trip cancellation, interruption, and trip delay would potentially fall on you – the traveler.
Get coverage for hurricanes during hurricane season. With certain plans, you can cover trip delay, cancellations, and interruptions due to hurricanes and hurricane warnings.
TravelSafe is one of the only companies who offer coverage specific to hurricane warnings. See the coverage here.
3. CANCEL FOR ANY REASON
Cruise companies like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney do offer one of the most popular travel insurance features: cancel for any reason. Offered by cruise companies and third-party travel insurers, most plans offer between 50% - 75% of the trip cost back, but that's where the similarities end.
While some policies offer a monetary refund, cruise insurance almost always provides a cruise credit versus cash back. Cruise credits also have quite a few restrictions. For starters, most are only valid up to one year after being issued, are non-transferrable, and have no cash value. They're usually only good for a one-time use, so if you use half of those credits on one cruise, you cannot apply remaining credits to another. Any remaining credits are invalid.
Third party insurance is more forgiving. You get 75% of the trip cost in the form of a check for cancelling your trip, and you can use the refund however you want – no restrictions, no expiration dates, no hassle.
Like Tricia Irvin of Menno Travel says, "When we tell them it’s vouchers back with any cruise line versus money back with TravelSafe, for a covered reason, everyone wants money back hands down."
4. MEDICAL EVACUATION
You're on your cruise having a great time when suddenly, you have a heart attack. The on-ship doctor deems it medically necessary that you be transported from the ship by emergency evacuation (medevac).Medevacs can cost anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on where you are in the world. Unfortunately, the Cruise Line's coverage usually only goes up to $30,000. So if the bill goes over that, you're the one stuck paying for it.
Third-party plans cover anywhere between $30,000-$1,000,000 for emergency medical evacuations. The right coverage keeps the financial burden off of the traveler. Travelers are able to focus on recovery rather than any impending bills.
5. MISSED CONNECTIONS
In 2017, 1,029,474 flights in the US were delayed. Mechanical issues, bad weather, late departures, and more can put a kink into travel plans. If those kinks cause you to miss the boat, you will have to pay to catch up to your cruise or bear the costs of cancellation.
Unfortunately, most cruise line plans do not cover missed connections. They're leaving you high and dry if you miss the boat. Are you willing to take that chance?
With the state of flights in the US, it's a safer bet to go with a third party provider that will cover missed connections. This benefit reimburses you so you can catch up to the cruise without suffering the full cost.
Tricia puts it perfectly when she says,
"I look at [travel] insurance as protecting their investment for those instances where a client may have to cancel a trip of a lifetime. Life happens and things can come up out of the blue. It’s hard to tell a valued client they are going to be penalized for canceling when the reason is beyond control."
It might be easiest to buy the cruise line insurance, but that doesn't mean it's the best fit for you and your family. Third-party travel insurance offers more comprehensive coverage, which means you and your family aren't stuck with unusable cruise credits or medical evacuation bills.